Look in the Mirror

Updated: December 17, 2012


By RU Contributor Mad Medic

vfiles16534There are so many things I’d like to say about what happened in Newton today, but the whole thing is so emotionally taxing, and we say the same things again and again when “these things happen”. We see these senseless tragedies again and again with a frightening rapidity. Ft Hood TX, Tuscon Az, Aurora CO, Happy Valley OR, and now Newton CT. All of these places saw senseless tragedy in the last four years, and have left us with a growing sense of doom and gloom. The worst part of it all is that nearly all of these incidents had clear warning signs that were clearly not heeded. Rather than run around and talk about how “Workplace Violence” is a bad thing, or we need to cultivate an “air of civility” or try to ban ammunition sales on the internet, let’s turn and face the real problem. Us.

We see the warning signs, but never bring them up. Major Hassan gave a whole powerpoint briefing about how the US could not possibly win in Afghanistan, because Islam is a culture that embraces death. Right there most of us would hit the breaks and say “Woah! Is this a joke?” At the very least they should have put a closer watch on him. That he had absolutely horrible OERs and still got promoted should make a lot of people stop and ask what the hell happened.

Jarred Lee Loughner. . . you have only to look into this wacko’s smiling face to know he’s just not right in the head. He made a lot of people squirm, with things he said. It wasn’t the “I’m awkward, but I’m trying” kind of off, its the “reach into your pocket for some mace” kind of creepy. People knew that he wasn’t right. They even banned him from classes because he made people so uncomfortable. You mean to tell me no one thought that they should take this guy in? Hell just do a 4140 (72 hour forcible in-patient mental evaluation), if he’s sane, they let him out, and there’s no long term consequences. If he just so happens to be fruity as a nut-cake you DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

We should know by now that James Eagan Holmes, was a freaking nut case. If the orange hair and blank stare doesn’t give him away, perhaps the fact that he told his shrink that he was going to kill someone should have had this guy in a strait jacket. I don’t care if he was using a drum magazine (which only idiots use), or what firearms he was using, the simple fact that his shrink let him walk out of his office after he said that, should have us locking her up right beside him. There was not only the right to break patient confidentiality, but the moral duty to do so. Everything that transpired in Aurora could have been avoided with just ONE phone call.

I have no doubt that as details emerge on this latest shooting, we’ll learn that yes in fact there were warning signs and someone probably had the right and the duty to act but did not. We’ll probably find that at some point, some common sense measure could have been taken that would have prevented this, and at some point we will no doubt learn that there is a law already on the books which if it had actually been enforced, might have prevented yet another mass shooting. No doubt we as a nation will nod sagely at the things we should have done, then totally fail to take these things to heart, leading to yet one more asshole to commit another crime like this.

I am forced to admit that perhaps Bob Costas was right, after a fashion. The problem is cultural. We have so many people promoting the thug life, or this run and gun nonsense coming out of Hollywood, that people don’t respect guns at all. They’re not the deadly serious tool one uses for self protection, they are power incarnate. Our constant fear-mongering about guns has lead the weak and the maniacal to assume that a gun will give them the power and respect they so rightly deserve. People see guns as a quick way to instantly elevate themselves. In short it is the Nuclear Option without the restraint that MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) forces on one.

But more than that, American culture as a whole is in a state of slow decay. The Family, once the bedrock of America, is an afterthought, if that. People laugh and scoff at the idea that raising children can be one of the most noble endeavors one can set upon. We chase our pleasures at the expense of all else, heedless of the broken people we leave behind. We hold up shallow vapid celebrities as the exemplar when real heroes who fight and die “so others may live” are all but ignored. We watch the train wreck that is 16 & Pregnant, and never stop to wonder that that child’s life is probably going to be horrible because his/her parents don’t even know how to be adults. Had anyone of these shooter’s families actually talked to their loved ones, and kept themselves apprised of their well being as families should, then perhaps the temptation to go postal might have been checked.

My greatest fear is that these mass shootings will occur with more and more frequency, as the hard data seems to suggest. Even if we were to outlaw guns tomorrow, I’m sure someone would make a homemade bomb, or run around with a knife or some other such insanity. The only reasonable, viable solution I can see is for America as a whole to take a good hard look in the mirror. We are strung out. We have forgotten what makes us great, or hell even a good nation. We need to teach our children how to love (not the free love variety) and how to form a bed rock in their lives. We can do some simple things, together as a nation, and things might start to get better, or we can keep doing what we’re doing, and see where that gets us. In the end the choice is ours.




  1. Mr. Twisted

    December 17, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Though I do agree as a whole, I think it is important to keep two things in mind for perspective when talking about the moral decay of society and how it relates to incidents like the one last week.

    1) The worst school mass murder in our country’s history was not conducted with a firearm, nor did it happen because a man was affected by pop culture or any number of modern factors. It occurred in Bath, Michigan in 1927 when a man blew up a school with a car bomb, killing 44 people, mostly children. The point is this: evil such as this is not a new phenomenon. Which leads me to…

    2) Evil has existed since man has been on this planet. But therein lies the problem–we have to define evil, and in order to do so, it becomes, whether we like it or not, a religious discussion that philosophically addresses what is inherently good as well as that which is inherently evil.

    This is, of course, a debate/discussion that has been going on for as long as recorded human history has existed. Mostly it hinges on the very simple question of how we define good and evil and what, if anything, we believe allows us to make that distinction. Not a debate we will solve anytime soon, but one that is worthy of having, none the less.

    Great post, Mad Medic.

    • Rotti

      December 26, 2012 at 1:53 pm

      I’ve been saying for years that we need a period of pure anarchy just to re-teach people how to behave in society… replace every law on the books with one simple phrase: Accept the consequences of your actions.

      An armed society is a polite society 😉

  2. GI Joey

    December 18, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Excellent post. I’m finding myself more and more frustrated by the unfolding scenario on an hourly basis. Everyone is suddenly calling for “gun control,” “weapons bans,” and all sorts of other things, while entirely missing the forest for the trees. The growing trend has very little to do with guns, and much more to do with the culture of the “participation trophy.” If any readers will indulge me, here goes:
    American culture (which most of us that frequent this sight have fought directly to protect) has become increasingly cheapened by the notion that “everyone is special,” and that everyone deserves the world on a silver platter. There’s no accountability, and as such, typically no punishment. Citizens (especially youth) no longer seem to have the capacity to use introspect to make themselves better. We are all told that we’re fine “just the way we are,” and that self improvement is, by default, unnecessary.
    I was a pretty awkward kid in middle school. I didn’t have very well developed social skills at the time, and as a result, I wasn’t the spitting image of prom king popularity. But you know what? As bad as getting picked on sucked, I didn’t blame society or other people. I was raised to look at myself first when I had a problem, and see what I could do to fix it. It wasn’t the fault of “bullies,” it was the way we toughen ourselves up as kids and learn to deal with adversity. As it turns out, by the time I hit my sophmore year of high school, I was just fine. I ended up the captain of multiple sports teams, a National Honor Society member, and a top ten graduate. I graduated, went to college, joined the military, and am now a very successful guy with a beautiful family and career.
    I feel like this narrative makes a very useful point in light of the current tragedies erupting across the country- If I had bought into CNN’s anti-bullying campaign, or believed at any time that I was a victim, I would never have developed to the level of drive and professional profiency (both military and civilian) that I’m now blessed with. I learned to deal with problems instead of blame others for them and wear the martyr cape. I doubt I ever would have shot anyone (before going to war, anyway), but not all of us have the same caliber of mental toughness.
    Children are being taught the exact opposite of the above narrative. “There’s nothing wrong with you, kid. Don’t look at yourself to see what you could do better, or try to fight it. Blame society, blame the people around you, it’s their fault, and they need to be punished.” What kind of backwards message is that to kids struggling with the transition from childhood to teens, or teenhood to adulthood?
    It’s the kind of message that makes kids stunt themselves socially, emotionally, and in some tragic cases, psychologically to the point of violence and atrocity.
    The problem isn’t guns, bullying, being ignored, violent media, or even poor parenting. The problem lies with people too short sighted to see the value inherent in the gauntlet of adolescence. Pain is temporary, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But in a society that tries to be “pseudo-pain free,” no one gets strong.
    And the moment adversity rears its head, that society will crumble, just like we’ve seen in Newtown, CT, and what we’ll continue to see until we address the real issues.
    And that won’t happen until our society can stop missing the forest for the trees.
    End of Op-Ed.

  3. Jim Scrummy

    December 19, 2012 at 10:29 am

    I hate participation trophies for kids. My kids have received them in the youth sports they play, and then I try to hide them. But, when they actually place on the podium (which happens sometimes at their swim meets), we as a family celebrate the hard work and effort of actually accomplishing something. Taking accountability and responsibility is a big thing in our family, including the parents. If you talk the talk, you better damn well walk the walk, including parents.

    In regards to Sandy Hook. The frequency of that happening to a person is at the same frequency one is struck by lightning. Around 1 out of 1 million. People have a better chance of dying in an automobile accident than being murdered (2011 Stats: 10.7K people murdered in the US, and around 30+K killed via automobile). CT already had some of the toughest gun laws in the country, and this didn’t stop the perp. The “evil” gun is responsible?? Right. Unfortunately, we’ve required schools to be “gun free” zones or rather free fire zones. Where have the majority of these instances occurred…gun free zones. The perp never has to worry about being confronted with someone who has CCW permit.

  4. leftoftheboom

    January 10, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    I did like the story. This is my take.
    We as a nation are heading down the road that will lead to our eventual destruction because the population, by and large, are more interested in their entertainment than they are in their responsibilities. The First Amendment, far from being a representation of the foremost freedom, is becoming a bastion of anarchy as individuals say whatever comes into their minds without thought and then spew it to the general population. We are in information overload as the internet and social media keep us informed of, well, everything. We cannot disconnect and tune out because we might miss something and then be left behind at the water cooler, school or where ever.

    We are becoming an entire nation of un-medicated ADD patients without recourse because we simply cannot escape the constant deluge of information around us and we are becoming afraid. Why are we afraid? Because in part people who seem to be educated cannot seem to perform simple math. Are these actions on the rise? According to statistics they are not. And even if they are, the population is also on the rise. Is it so hard to break the connection between the population of a nation and the actions of an individual? Of course by this I mean that instead of seeing what happened as a Rare event, when you compare that 300 million people did not go out and commit a massacre of little kids, the media and the population at large focus on this event with a level of scrutiny that make it seem like it happened on the next block over. It might happen again tomorrow and it might be your kids. Well it could but that does not change the math that even if it does, my kid still has a better chance of getting hit by lightening than they do getting shot by some madman with delusions of grandeur.

    We as a people cannot seem to distance ourselves from an event that had nothing to do with us because we have 24 hour coverage from multiple camera angles and reporting outlets injected into our cerebral cortex so that each emotional sound bite resonates until our endorphins are on overload.

    All because in order to get an increasingly emotionally overloaded population to pay attention to the advertising minutes they sell, the media have to sensationalize everything to get them to pay attention to their channel. We catch the media in a lie but we still have those who start picking sides even when they KNOW it was a lie. WE are addicted to sensation and empathy worse than a crack addict needs a fix. And we are not allowed by peer pressure to step away. If you don’t shed a tear you are a monster. If you don’t empathize you are worse than the shooter. We are subjected to continuous injections of emotion and we cannot take much more. Why are people increasingly snapping? The same reason a drug addict loses it. They have too much tolerance to the drug, need more and more to get high, have lost too many functional brain cells, and higher reasoning skills cannot function anymore.

    Bottom line. I love my kid. I will die for my kid. I will kill to protect my kid. But please stop asking me to get upset and distraught because of yours unless they are friends with mine. How many tears can one person cry for strangers before instead of empathy they give in to callousness and stop caring and become the horror that they once hated? The only way is to turn off the tv, shut off the computer, and get off the information fix. Let local problems be local problems instead of national events.

    Or else we will constantly feel this impending doom, we will start to bunker down feel trapped inside our own homes until society becomes a war zone and you are afraid of everything because you have been told there is no one shred of sanity left and the media can show you images that prove it. We already know what happens when an emotionally unstable individual loses it and has a violent episode. Do you want to imagine what it would be like to have 30 of them? Imagine 30 Million.

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